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BlackCloudSalvage
06-13-2017, 9:23 AM
I need a low cost $200+/- vertical metal cutting bandsaw to cut 1/16"-1/8" steel.
I'd like to find something in town at harbor freight, northern tool, Sears, Lowe's, etc.
Most of their saws don't really mention wood or metal. Any recommendations? Which place sells a descent cheap one and also has metal blades on the shelf to buy?

DoomBuggy
06-13-2017, 10:56 AM
I have an ancient Craftsman vertical bandsaw and have tried a couple of metal cutting blades to mixed results. I can cut most sheet metal up to about 14 guage with little problem, but anything thicker and it seems that the blade speed is just too high.

I will be interested in what others have found.

Oh by the way, my bandsaw is from the early '70s and I paid $150.00 for it from CL. I then picked up a couple of the tension blocks from Sears. My biggest concern is who is going to carry on the Craftsman parts business when Sears folds!

fastfiat
06-13-2017, 11:22 AM
I picked mine up at a local swap meet. Most wood cutting band saws are going to run to fast and it wont matter what blade you put in it it will burn up.

Dougtheinternetannoyance123
06-13-2017, 12:38 PM
Metal cutting is ALL about speed, and rate of feed which is why a good drill press has either multiple pulleys or variable speed motor. Band saws are the same way
I suppose there probably IS saws with a dedicated speed and I have seen some in shops but those are commercial fab shops and they have setups dedicated to certain applications. (Aluminum here, Steel over there etc)

I can take a picture of mine if you like, But theres a add on box on mine that allows adjustment of speed. Some motors (AC) can handle this, and some cannoth
(Fricken ads make this hard to type)
I also have some smaller scroll saw and hobby saws I picked up at garage sales for intricate and detail cutting and playing around with them as well.
But my big saw,, I got a buddy with a fab shop and he makes his own blades. He buys bulk rolls of it, and then makes up blades for the jobs and sized right
and then has a small spot welder to cut and weld them to length. He made me 5 sets each of various tooth counts which is the other critical issue.
Right saw blade material for the right job. (look at tooth counts and type of blade material) I am sure there is plenty of industrial shops out there that can
offer up blades for you without spending an arm or leg.

I also have a material saw thats a horizontal band saw for cutting bar stock and tube. But I hate the thing. It cuts crooked, its got a hinge and pivot and I cant see
how to re-engineer it to not cut crooked. PIA.. But it CAN be raised up and a small platform installed and used as a vertical saw I suppose but I already have that covered.

farmall
06-13-2017, 1:24 PM
There are many options which might serve you better than a non-portable band saw, especially a cheap crappy one. I always ask because band saws are pretty limited compared to other options which is why I haven't bothered to snag one. If I do it will be large, used and horizontal.

A portable band saw with a suitable plate works for many people and you can make the plate yourself inexpensively. Example: http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/attachments/tools-supplies/677708d1339443771-milwaukee-porta-band-vertical-band-saw-mounting-plate-p1230009-1.jpg

For blades I'd find an online source but if you use a common Milwaukee portable band saw many local welding suppliers stock good blades for those. Lenox work decently for me. I don't use my portable for anything but the usual cutoff work. The nice thing about Milwaukee is you can order parts online easily. The guide rollers wear in heavy use but are easy to swap.

For cutting sheet, bar and plate I prefer a 6" angle grinder with cutting discs. 6" grinders also fit all the 4.5" wheels making a 6" the most versatile angle grinder. I stopped using my chop saws (wide kerf wheels cut tool slowly for my liking) and don't miss them. I barely use my bench grinder any more and when I do, I screw angle grinder accessories onto the "right hand thread" shaft.
I've cut up to 1/2" plate with a 6" cutting disk, and doing a truck axle with a band saw can be hard on teeth. Ripping large sheets is easy with cutting discs and a 4'x8' won't fit in consumer band saws. A cutting disk can cut any hard metal. I also use 6" disks in circular saws. Works fine but I reach for the angle grinder first since I can cut then use the edge of the disk to debur etc.

You can reduce the speed of a band saw designed for wood by reducing the motor pulley diameter. Pulleys are cheap. You can size the new belt if needed by cutting the old belt, draping it over the pulleys then trimming off the excess until you can match the length with the new belt you need. (Also useful with old Harley drive belts, I drape 'em over the pulleys, mark the belt with a silver Sharpie then count the teeth.)



I also have a material saw thats a horizontal band saw for cutting bar stock and tube. But I hate the thing. It cuts crooked, its got a hinge and pivot and I cant see
how to re-engineer it to not cut crooked. PIA.

You could locate and measure the error then choose how to cure the crooked cut. Does it cut at 90 degrees to the workpiece on any axis? Which axis are crooked.

If you can adjust the blade guide rollers they are often the cause of crooked cuts. That includes playing with shim stock between them and their mounts. If the vise jaws are not perpendicular to the blade that can cause errors.

Sketch the error in relation to the X, Y and Z )use all three!) axis of your work after cutting something large enough to show max error. I'd cut something close to max saw capacity. It can be light square tubing since you are after the error which will best be measured from the edges. Don't use round stock unless it's all you have. It's easier to see and measure error on square stock.



I can take a picture of mine if you like, But theres a add on box on mine that allows adjustment of speed.

If it's a three phase motor running off single phase that may be a VFD. They allow precise speed control on the fly and that alone is good reason to keep three phase machines running three phase. Bonus is consumers don't know about rotary phase converters and VFD though there's a metric fuckton of info on the net.

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/transformers-phase-converters-and-vfd/

You can place a piece of square stock in your saw vise then check for level using a cheap digital level on top of the workpiece. Check lengthwise and crosswise to ensure the vise isn't the problem.

BlackCloudSalvage
06-13-2017, 4:11 PM
This is a clear example of when you ask someone what time it is and they tell you how a watch works!

All jokes aside, thanks for the input. All very useful info.

DoomBuggy
06-13-2017, 4:59 PM
This is a clear example of when you ask someone what time it is and they tell you how a watch works!



Actually one of the best things about this forum and it's members, the breadth of knowledge is really remarkable.

So if you MUST have a vertical bandsaw for metal it sounds like the cheapest option is a CL or eBay find near your house, a couple of different pulleys to adjust the speed, and then some nice metal blades to fit it off of the 'bay.

BlackCloudSalvage
06-13-2017, 7:48 PM
Thanks Doombuggy. Couldnt agree with you more about the knowledge and that's exactly why I check the forum daily and add my 2 cents when I can. Chopcult, Craigslist and a lil chopperswapper is about all the social media I need. Thanks for your contribution.

BadMonkeyMW
06-14-2017, 9:48 AM
The red one from Harbor Freight is pretty good for a garage builder. I've had mine for over ten years and it still does a solid job. Can be set up for vertical or horizontal cutting. The key is paying attention to proper speed and correct blade for the metal you're cutting.

Revelator
06-14-2017, 10:45 AM
DOUG...........
Check Your blade rollers. (Side rollers) One of them should have an eccentric
bearing adjuster & the other will usually be a fixed roller.. when rotated the eccentric
stud will move the bearing roller closer
to the blade, taking up any slack. These rollers need to be pressed against the blade
without any play. If there is any play, Your cut will be crooked.

There may be a lock nut behind the roller that should be loosened before rotating
the eccentric stud that the roller (bearing) is mounted on.

fastfiat
06-14-2017, 2:13 PM
This one came up today. About every 2-3 weeks something shows up here. https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/tls/6176718082.html

Dougtheinternetannoyance123
06-14-2017, 2:58 PM
"This one came up today. About every 2-3 weeks something shows up here. https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/tls/6176718082.html"

That looks like a decent unit, Price seems good too. Stay tuned for pix of mine, but mines similar and I think i paid in the same ballpark. Note the stepper pulleys for changing speeds, I have several drill presses that use the same system as well. My vertical band saw has a speed controller for the motor but those pulleys are common. Thats a nice feature to have. Most machinists handbooks as well as online sources can advise best tooth counts and speeds for many types of metal for best results. Our local CL I looked at just now and has a ton of options as well. CL< Estate sales, garage sales, Shop liquidations or auctions are prime candidates.. Auctions unless very experienced are low on my list as locally I dont like how many are run. But sometimes you are the only bidder and deals can be had.
Consider running WTB ads on several categories of CL as well. You never know what might turn up besides the usual flakes and weirdos.

I like some of the older Craftsman units and some decent stuff (Sears) floating around out there. #1 rule to always remember is that Sears never made ANYTHING themselves. They always commissioned other manuf to build stuff under their name. On older units, you can decipher who made your tools by decoding the Part/VIN number just like an old car or your HD Vin number. This opens up your options for service parts, manual and parts book as well as sourcing parts.

See: http://vintagemachinery.org/Craftsman/manufacturers.aspx

One frequently asked question concerning Sears tools is "Who made this product for Sears?" Often the model number will have the form nnn.xxxxx, in which the 3 or 4 digit prefix indicates the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). Some prefixes have been used for more than one manufacturer, and several manufacturers have been assigned more than one prefix.

A list of manufacturers is compiled here. Those entries in UPPER CASE are from a Sears document, "Standard Brand Source Number Reference", dated May 1995. Those entries that contain lower case are for tools that have been compared to non-Craftsman models made by the same manufacturer, or from indications as to the OEM in the documentation or model number tag. Lower case entries also contain data extracted from internet sources, USENET articles from the "rec.woodworking" newsgroup, participants of vintagemeachinery.org, or emails from knowledgeable enthusiasts. (Thanks go to Ken Vaughn for compiling the original list.)

Since it is difficult to verify the accuracy of these sources, any new data is simply added to the list. Please note that this list likely contains errors and is certainly not complete.

fastfiat
06-14-2017, 3:57 PM
Thats the same unit i bought at a local swap meet for the same price. It has served me well in my garage shop but you would be under gunned for production use.

xMPRx
06-14-2017, 7:57 PM
A portable band saw with a suitable plate works for many people and you can make the plate yourself inexpensively. Example: http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/attachments/tools-supplies/677708d1339443771-milwaukee-porta-band-vertical-band-saw-mounting-plate-p1230009-1.jpg

Im +1 for the portaban and table fixture. I would say my milwaukee portaban is one of the most used tools in my shop. and setting it up in the table takes 2 minutes and has a shallow throat but for $299 its an all around great tool.

BlackCloudSalvage
06-14-2017, 9:27 PM
The portaban saw fixture would be a good how to tech thread! So would some of this bandsaw setup, leveling, trueing, etc. Info

farmall
06-15-2017, 7:03 PM
First place I saw the fixture was Pirate 4x4. There are a shitload of outstanding tech posts in that forum. I fap to it on the reg.

Scroll down for table drawing:

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/shop-tools/808631-homemade-porta-band-table.html

BadMonkeyMW
06-16-2017, 1:36 PM
The portaban saw fixture would be a good how to tech thread! So would some of this bandsaw setup, leveling, trueing, etc. Info

My good friend Steve at Guerilla Fabrication makes a fixture set-up to use a Port-O-Band in the vertical position. All of his stuff is top quality. https://www.instagram.com/guerrillafabrication/

BlackCloudSalvage
06-16-2017, 3:04 PM
Nice! I want to buy one of his handlebar builder jig sets.

BlackCloudSalvage
06-16-2017, 3:16 PM
Dang. That's a solid price for a solid looking rig.